FAQs about the Intensive English Program

Q: What is the Intensive English Program?
A: The Intensive English Program (IEP) is a full-time program of English instruction for international students or U.S. residents who wish to improve their English. The IEP prepares students for university level academic work in English. The program is also appropriate for those who wish to improve their English for professional, business or personal reasons.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: Please see the Program Dates & Costs page.

Q: Do I have to study full time?
A: The Intensive English Program (IEP) is a full-time program of English instruction for international students or U.S. residents who wish to improve their English. The IEP prepares students for university level academic work in English. The program is also appropriate for those who wish to improve their English for professional, business or personal reasons.

Q: How many students do you have in each class?
A: On average, there are 12 to 15 students in a class. The students are from many different nationalities.

Q: When do classes meet?
A: During the academic year, classes meet Monday through Friday from 1:00 to 5:20 pm, with a break from 2:50 to 3:00 pm. In the summer, classes meet Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 2:20 pm, with a break from 11:50 am to 12:30 pm. Class times are subject to change. There are 80 hours of instruction every month.

Q: How does the program work?
A: The IEP focuses on developing each language skill in progression: Listening, Reading, Writing, and, the final level, Immersion. Immersion encompasses all skill areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Immersion prepares students for academic study at the university.

Note: Students who complete one full semester of Immersion in good standing may be exempted from UWM's standardized English test requirement (TOEFL or IELTS) for international undergraduate admission.

A series of placement tests are given at the beginning of the program to determine which skill the student needs to work on. Students are tested every month to assess progress. When sufficient progress is made, the student moves to the next level. Depending on a student's proficiency in English when the student starts the IEP, a student may spend 2 to 3 months or more in Listening, Reading and Writing; and 4 months in Immersion.

Q: What happens in the classes?
A: Each class focuses on a specific skill. As a student progresses in the program, he or she adds new skills while continuing to work on the previous skill. For example, in Writing class, a student will spend 3 class hours a day participating in a variety of writing activities; for example, working on verb tenses, sentence boundaries and transitions in writing; reading an essay and writing a response; and writing in-class essays. In Immersion all skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking) are integrated, and the focus is on preparing the student for university level academic study. All students choose an elective class at the beginning of each week. The list of elective classes may change from week to week and can include choices such as Cinema, Pronunciation, TOEFL Preparation, Grammar, or Independent Study. A student may attend a different elective class every week or the student can continue with the same elective if it is offered.

Every month students are tested to see how they are progressing. At that time, a student who scores 70% may move to a higher level.

Q: What are the teachers like?
A: All the teachers are qualified with a Master's degree in ESL or a related field and have many years of experience in teaching English as a Second Language. Some teachers have lived and taught English overseas.

Q: Can I use university facilities, such as the library and the sports center?
A: Of course! The IEP is part of UWM and is located on the campus. Every IEP student is issued a university student ID card and can use all the facilities available to students: the Norris Health Center, Klotsche Sports Center, Library, computer centers and wireless access, university email, and so on. There is also a free shuttle service, called BOSS, available in the evenings for students going to destinations near the university. IEP students, like other UWM students, can get a Milwaukee Country Transit System bus pass, UPASS, during the UWM academic sessions. Access to these services and facilities is covered by the university fee.

Q: When can I start?
A: New students can join the program at the beginning of any session. See the Program Dates & Costs page. It is also possible to join the program for one or two months. Just be sure to apply and pay a deposit well in advance, at least two months before the start of the session. Download application materials for this web page.

Q: Can you help me to get a student visa?
A: The IEP will issue an I-20 for a prospective student who submits a completed and signed application, provides a financial statement and pays the required deposit. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the student's home country will examine the I-20 as part of the application for a U.S. visa. The student should be able to clearly explain why he or she is coming to the U.S. to study English and how English will be useful when the student returns to his or her home country.

Q: Are there computer labs available to ESL students?
A: Yes, there are computer stations, labs and wireless service available throughout the UWM campus. IEP students have their own UWM email account and can easily access the Internet.

Q: What is the standardized English test requirement for admission to UW-Milwaukee?
A: UWM accepts both TOEFL and IELTS scores.

English Proficiency Requirements

  TOEFL
Internet-based
TOEFL
Paper-based
IELTS

Undergraduate

Regular
Dual
Conditional
68
61-67
0-60
520
498-519
0-497
5.5
5
0-4.9

Graduate

Regular
Dual
79
68-78
550
520-549
6.5
6.0-6.4

The Center for International Education can provide complete information on international admissions.

Undergraduate

ESL to UWM: Students who complete one full semester of the most advanced level (Immersion) of the Intensive English Program in good standing (with a grade of B minus (B-) or better) meet the English proficiency requirement for admission to undergraduate study.

English Language Proficiency Required for Undergraduate Graduate Study

You can be admitted to UWM if you do not meet the minimum English proficiency requirements.

Undergraduate Conditional Admission: If you received a TOEFL score of less than 497 (paper-based)/ 60 (internet-based) or an IELTS score below 4.9, you can be conditionally admitted to UWM, but you will be required to satisfy one of the following requirements prior to becoming eligible to enroll in academic courses:

  1. Submit a TOEFL score of 520 (paper-based) or 68 (internet-based) or better; or an IELTS score of 5.5 or better.
  2. Successful completion of one semester of full-time study of the UWM Intensive English Program Immersion class with a grade of B minus (B-) or higher.

Undergraduate Dual Admission: If you received a TOEFL score between 500-519 (paper-based) or 61-67 (internet-based); or an IELTS score of 5.0, you will be admitted to UWM, and will be allowed to register for part-time academic courses (maximum of six credits). You must also enroll part-time in the Intensive English Program (non-credit) until you demonstrate your English language proficiency by submitting a TOEFL score of 520 or 68, or an IELTS score of 5.5.

Graduate

If you do not meet the minimum English proficiency requirements, you may be granted dual admission.

Graduate Dual Admission: If you have submitted a TOEFL score between 520 and 549 (paper-based), 68-78 (Internet-based) or an IELTS score between 6 and 6.5, you will be eligible to enroll in six credits of academic coursework and you will also be required to enroll in an ESL course (credit or non-credit). You must demonstrate your English language proficiency by submitting a TOEFL score of 550 or 79, or an IELTS score of 6.5, within three semesters of initial enrollment at UWM.

For complete information on English proficiency for admission for graduate study, visit the Center for International Education's Graduate Application Requirements for international applicants.

Where can I get more information about the Intensive English Program?

Contact the ESL Programs Office by email: esl@uwm.edu; telephone: +1-414-229-5757; or fax: +1-414-229-6258.


Taiwan FlagThe ESL program provides me many creative and interesting courses. In here, not only can I improve my English ability but I can also know more about American culture and society.
- Shihyun Peng, Taiwan